While Shepherds Slept - Poem by Chris Pearson
The hill overlooking Bethlehem was bleak and cold and drear;
above the town wheeled a starry sky, remote and dark and clear.
But the shepherds who tended their flocks on the hill
didn’t look at the stars; they had all had their fill
of the desert at night, and they didn’t much care
for the dry dusty sand; it got in everywhere.
So they just huddled down with their warm woolly sheep
on the hard desert floor, and they all went to sleep.
Then a sliver of moon joined the stars up above
And ethereal voices proclaimed heaven’s love.
The shepherds heard none of the angels’ pure sound;
they slept through the music despite the hard ground.
When the angels observed that their song was ignored,
that the shepherds slept through it, and some even snored,
they sent an archangel to give them a shake -
an event guaranteed to shock them wide awake.
They blinked their eyes open, but couldn’t believe
that a stately archangel was telling them “Leave!
There’s a child in a stable you just have to see.
He is really quite special; you take it from me.”
Every shepherd was scared nearly out of his mind
and they turned tail and ran with the angel behind.
He guided their footsteps to Bethlehem town,
saying “First take a left, straight away then go down
ninety cubits of cobbles. When you see on your right.
that you’ve reached a barn door, destiny is in sight.”
The shepherds all peered round the old stable door
at a small group of people camped out in the straw.
In the manger was a baby, who made them all stare
he seemed unsurprised that they’d found themselves there.
The shepherds looked sheepish, and one of them muttered
“Angel made us come here.” Another just stuttered
“Wha, I mean, er, 've you chosen the little boy’s name? ”
His mum nodded. “Jesus. And he’s glad you came.
We’re hoping he’ll grow up to be a great man
and become a good shepherd, like you, if he can.”
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